By Sarah Cross, Sciences Po Toulouse, France
I’m Sarah and I’m a PPE student studying for a year at Sciences Po in Toulouse. After what feels like countless months of admin, forms and eventually obtaining a Visa, I finally arrived here to begin my placement. The French bureaucracy has meant nothing is straightforward (partially thanks to Brexit!), so it feels great to have now spent three weeks in the ‘Pink City’.
My main worry before arriving was the language barrier as, despite my course being taught in English, I want to be able to integrate into French life. Although I can speak French to a certain level, it’s far from perfect! However, on my second day, I met a huge group of other Erasmus students from my course who speak a mix of English, French and countless other languages. I also signed up for Dance and Cheer, to try to meet other French people.
Being a city full of students, Toulouse has so much going on to get involved with. Platt Fields has been replaced by Place Saint-Pierre, Northern Quarter by Carmes and 256 by Chez Tonton! The workload at Sciences Po is definitely different to home, doing 7 modules per semester instead of 3 or 4, and having 8am classes, but it has been nice to start to get into a routine and, being a Political Science Grand École, the professors have so much knowledge and research experience in their field. The return of in person exams is definitely going to be a shock to the system in December, though!
I have already managed to visit Montpellier, Lyon and Grenoble, and can’t wait to visit more towns and cities in France over the next weeks and months. Hopefully my French will also improve as I do so!